Mandatory Health Insurance Required for Long Stay Visas in Thailand

As of May 14th, 2019, the Thai cabinet has approved legislation which will require mandatory health insurance for Thailand’s Long Stay Non-Immigrant Visa OA or simply the Thailand Retirement Visa.


Catching Up:


As we reported back in December, The Medical Hub Committee had approved to amend the criterion necessary for foreigners to be granted their Long Stay visa. Spearheaded by the Public Health Minister and the Tourism and Sport Vice Minister, this initiative still had to be refined and approved by a joint council of the Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, Public Health Ministry, the Office of Insurance Commission, the Immigration Bureau, the Thai Life Assurance Association, and the Thai General Insurance Association.


The Latest Development:


Dr. Natthawut Prasertsiripong, Director General of the Ministry of Public Health has announced that on April 8th, 2019 the amendment to require insurance for the Long Stay Visa (Thailand Retirement Visa – Non Immigrant Visa OA) was approved by the joint council of the ministries mentioned above. He goes on to explain that this initiative was a joint venture between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Immigration Bureau, and the Ministry of Public Health aimed at reducing the costs to the Thai government in the form of health insurance debt incurred by foreigners—all while generating funds for Thailand’s public and private hospitals.


Dr. Nutthawat stated that, “The government has found that foreigners who are in their elder years staying on this type of visa have more health issues than other foreigners staying on other types of visas. . . . More than that, this is to protect the Ministry of Public Health, which is forced to pay for medical care for foreigners who do not have the funds to pay for their hospital bills.”


What We Know of the Requirements:


The new insurance requirements for the Long Stay Visa in Thailand are still under development, though what is known seems to be concrete seeing as how the legislation has been passed:


  • These new insurance requirements apply to foreigners aged 50 or older
  • The insurance coverage must provide 40,000 THB for outpatient treatment during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand
  • The insurance coverage must provide 400,000 THB for inpatient treatment during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand
  • The insurance requirement applies to people applying for a Long Stay visa for the first time, as well as people seeking to renew their Long Stay visa
  • If you have insurance from an insurance agent overseas, that policy will be honored as long as it has enough coverage to cover the amount stated in the requirements above.


*For a free, 1-minute insurance quote, click here.


What We Don’t Know of the Requirements:

Dr. Nutthawut stated that several factors had not been fully developed, and efforts would be made to do so by the joint committee as soon as possible. Special considerations and dispensations would have to be made in several cases. These unclear factors are:


  • It is unknown when the new measures will be enforced
  • It is unknown the exact process that will take place for how to check the amount of coverage of your insurance policy (if you should already have one from a foreign provider)
  • It is unknown what special considerations will have to be made for foreigners whose health risks are too grave to be granted coverage by private insurance companies
  • For these individuals who have seriously grave illnesses which are too costly for private insurance coverage, several options are being put forth, including “requiring them to have higher deposits in bank accounts so as to make sure that they have enough to live on during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand.”



It seems that the new medical insurance requirements for Thailand’s Long Stay visa have been approved and will soon be in place—though we do not know how soon. Still, it is better to be prepared than to have problems—and face deportation—when applying for your Long Stay visa or seeking to renew your Long Stay visa. If you would like to explore expat health insurance options, WeExpats can help. Simply, click on the free quote below. It only takes a minute.

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Comments (17)

  • Manfred Eugen Schuwerk

    I have full coverage of my health costs with German government 70% and from my governments insurance 30% with a limit of 190% of the amount granted in Germany for the same treatment. So for what should I have another insurance. It’s very simple, I pay here and get the same amount back from German government and insurance. Not all countries have the same bad system as the US.

    • Raf Bracho

      Manfred, we will have to wait and see if governmental insurance is accepted by the new Thai legislation. If not, what is your plan? Return to Germany? Move to Laos?

  • Marc D Wilaby

    The healthcare system in the USA is broken and costly. Doctors get paid way too much, medicine costs way too much, insurance costs way too much, and up to 40% of the total hospital billings go unpaid because the patient either has no money or no insurance. Medical care is excellent for those who can pay and these people pay high services costs to cover the ones that don’t pay. Prescription drugs are costly because drug makers in the USA want the U.S. population to pay for research for future drugs while other countries pay way less for the same drugs. Insurance is high because the costs are high and the CEO’s want their big paychecks too.

    I think Thailand looks at us Expats as the hens that lays golden eggs. It has become more difficult and more costly to live here but I also think people need to take care of their own shit and not be a burden to others. These new rules came along to solve a problem…one not caused by me or by the majority of the Expats living here but the few who hope or expect others to pay their way.

    I only hope the implementation of these rules are well vetted so we do not unnecessarily have to buy insurance just to make more money for the issuers.

  • david 0rme

    this will have a knock-on effect on condos as most of these are bought or rented by ex-pats who will now leave Thailand even more so than now, this has repercussions also in places kike restaurents catering for ex-pats and 7/11 stores where ex -pats buy food i can see many peaple long terms going bankrupt over this and the Chinese tourists despite thailands thinking they are a good think DO NOT AS GENERAL USE CONDOS OR BUY CONDOS so can see this build build build era coming to a rapid end & lot of thes condos remaining half/fully empty again resulting in more thais without a job in them I CAN SEE A LOT OF PROBLEMS AHEAD AS THIS BUILDING FRENZY STOPPING AND THE RESULTUING UNEMPLOYMENT IT WILL CAUSE ?!

  • John Todd Chapman

    The article states that “foreign health insurance” will be acceptable…to the government. The problem is getting the Thai hospitals to accept it. Baht 350,000 cash (out of pocket) isn’t the easiest thing to come up with, on any given day.

    • Justin Barsketis

      Hello, our insurance providers have direct pay arrangements with many hospitals already so that you will not have to pay out of pocket. We can also preemptively arrange a deal with hospitals of your choice.

  • mark Robison

    I currently have a immigrant -0 visa with many marriage extensions. I am planning to change it to a retirement extension. Is that possible with Immigrant -0 visa or do I have to apply for a new immigrant 0-A longstay visa.

  • Kevin

    Yeah, thought that was what the 400,000/800,000 in the bank was for.
    Double dipping at its best.

  • Parentela Giuseppe

    Olders limit , please !

  • Nigel

    Proper order Just need to be sure cost and premiens are kept competitive with adequate cover

  • John Bell

    What about foreigners over 50 married to thai with marriage visa each year

    • Justin Barsketis

      Hello John, We believe you have an O visa, not an OA, you should not be affected but it is best to consult immigration to be sure once they start enforcing the policy.

  • Derek Sturgessi

    I am 80 years old and am fit and well. No insurance will give me cover because of my age.
    What can I do?

  • Paul Cowin

    Not required for anyone extending visas in Thailand only for those obtaining visas overseas not marriage visas. So in a nutshell if you live here already you won’t need insurance. I got this information from my visa agent so I know it’s true

    • Jean-Paul Peelos

      This is only the first step. All the other long stay visa will follow.

    • tony mcintosh

      not what it says above The insurance requirement applies to people applying for a Long Stay visa for the first time, as well as people seeking to renew their Long Stay visa


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